Saturday, July 08, 2006

Today's A.D.D. NYeT update:
"Whoa! The cat is out of the bag! Revenues are soaring, but they still lag behind economic growth. So those poor folks who rely on the Times for their news are now in on the secret. And once the Times starts spilling secrets, it's hard to stop. Another fact that may be news to the Times' readers comes tumbling out:

[ Begin NYeT ADD drivel -ed. ] One reason for the increased volatility [in federal tax revenues] may be that a large share of income taxes is now paid by the nation's wealthiest families, and their incomes are based much more on the swings of the stock market than on wages and salaries. About one-third of all income taxes are paid by households in the top 1 percent of income earners, who make more than about $300,000 a year. [ End drivel -ed. ]

I'm puzzled. How does the Times reconcile those facts with the "tax cuts for the rich" mantra that it has repeated hundreds of times in opposing the administration's tax policies? A regular reader of the paper may be feeling a little disoriented by now.
Yes, it would appear that a big league education doesn't even buy crap for brains anymore -- at least in the journalism schools cesspools.
"July 6, 2006: The large number of charges brought against U.S. troops for crimes against civilians recently is partly coincidence (the rate of such incidents is much less than in past wars, but that is not considered news) and partly right out of the al Qaeda playbook. Making false accusations of atrocities, to attract media attention, is recommended in al Qaeda training documents, as a good way to keep the enemy off balance. After three years of defeats, al Qaeda, and their Iraqi Sunni Arab allies, are in need of some good news. Atrocities can be created, by forcing witnesses to make false claims, and to otherwise fabricate evidence. Anti-American media will not examine the evidence too closely, and will instead run with the story. That most of these claims turn out to be false is, again, not news, and the terrorists know it. Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes, to some at least, the truth."
"Socialist intellectuals will tell you that Cuba is a model nation: universal free health care, near total literacy, and essentially no gap whatsoever between the rich and the poor. They call it an island paradise where brotherhood and compassion reign in stark contrast to the brutal inequalities of the heartless and racist capitalist monster to the North, ruled by its Imperial Nazi King, who is the devious mastermind of all manner of Conspiratorial Wheels and is also a moron.

Capitalist intellectuals -– and there are not many, since most of these people have jobs -– argue that Cuba is a squalid, corrupt, poverty-ridden basket case, a land of oppression and secret police and torture chambers run by a megalomaniac who practices the most idiotic, inhuman and degrading economic system ever invented.

So here we sit in the chartroom, with our competing maps. What to think?

Well, ask yourself what it would take to give up your home, your country, your family and all your friends. Ask yourself how desperate you would have to be to sneak out in the night, and strap your family – your grandmother and infant son – to a collection of inner tubes lashed together and set out in the dark surf across 90 miles of shark-infested water in the dead of night, hoping against hope to make landfall. We can all agree, I think, that that kind of desperation could only be driven by a fairly passionate first-person opinion of such things. Surely this goes beyond what you or I would do to win a map argument at Starbucks.

So. Go up on deck, get out the telescope, and answer one simple question for me and for yourself:

Which way are the rafts headed? [ Oh dang. I forgot. We've all been brainwashed by Karl Rove into thinking that poor people are fat and spend vacations in Yellowstone. If they were really in touch with reality they'd jump right on one of those south pointed rafts cigarette boats. -ed. ]
"Moreover, even Israeli reoccupation of Gaza and southern Lebanon is a holding action; for in the longer run Iran is the launching pad of much greater concern.

So what are we going to do? As far as I can see, we wait for Armageddon, while praying that the regimes in Iran and North Korea may suddenly collapse. I would advise my reader to pray hard.
South Korea? What South Korea? Aiiighh! You have a Samsung cell phone in your pocket! Drop it quick! Oh, I forgot. You think that Asians are racially superior to Arabs. But you'll do anything to evade the fact that Asians as a group consistently outscore whites in the US on educational achievement tests. How long before all that acid you took as a youth actually reaches half-life in your brain so you can even consider that fact that rational adults like me exist?
"Above all, do not expect Korea to be brought up at all. Korea, in fact, is Iraq on steroids, a compendium of every complaint that the liberals bring against Bush and his administration: a war of choice that began with an error, that became in effect the mother of quagmires, that cost billions of dollars, killed tens of thousands, and dragged on years longer than anyone looked for, to an inconclusive and troublesome end. It began with a mistake--Acheson's omission of South Korea from a list of countries within the American sphere of protection, which may have led the North to believe it could invade without consequence. It was a war of choice, in that it was an invasion of a country to which the United States was not bound by treaty, but felt obliged to defend as a matter of principle."
And you conveniently spilled coffee on your world map where Kosovo should be also...
"It went on to add that Mahmoud, now living in Israel at an undisclosed location, has given the Mossad a secret file containing all the locations where Baghdad is hiding weapons and equipment of mass destruction. The newspaper explained that the locations include a chemical weapon plant built underground in Baghdad, a plant to assemble SCUD missile near al-Ramadi, an underground reinforced arsenal for biological bombs, in addition to five arsenals for missiles buried in the sands of the Western desert.

[ Ed then comments: -ed. ] Note that none of the above talks about any kind of false information getting propagated by Mahmoud. The memo treats the information published as fact rather than speculation or disinformation. Moreoever, the very urgency implied in the classification and in the language gives the impression that the IIS considered this a big problem.
"This shows that Taha continued to pursue application of biological weapons, in this case taking care to exploit UNSCOM parameters to hide the existence of the source material, its weaponization into the proper size (15 microns or less) for dissemination, and the process by which she produced it. This memo is dated in American format and comes from April 2002, prior to the Congressional authorization of force, but well after 9/11 and our renewed focus on the region.

Saddam and his henchmen not only had every intention of reconstituting their WMD programs, they obviously continued them unabated during the entire twelve-year quagmire while the UNSC slept.
Oh, I know. After gassing thousands of Kurds and Iranians, we're to believe that Saddam suddenly "got better". Gotta love that old time magical thinking...
Godwin calls them "mind parasites":
"Harrison approvingly quotes the great scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, who wrote that “When people realize that things are going wrong, there are two questions they can ask: One is, ‘What did we do wrong?’ and the other is ‘Who did this to us?’” The latter question leads to paranoia, conspiracy theories and liberal victimology, which is why the Islamists and international left share a common cause--they have the same underlying assumptions about reality and about who is at fault for it.

The book shows how deeply rooted are some of the pathologies of the left. I did not know this, but even in 1948, the American Anthropological Association opposed the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that each culture must decide for itself “what is true, good, beautiful, and efficient,” and no cultures were any better or worse, just “different.” Thus, “liberals” found themselves at odds with a document calling for such things as the right to life, liberty, and security of person, equality before the law, and freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. The more things change....

It never ceases to amaze me that liberals think they are doing these people a favor by supporting their cultural pathologies. As is always the case with leftist thought, it is a monstrous arrogance and condescension masquerading as compassion. Harrison quotes a brilliant African scholar named Daniel Etounga Mangelle, someone I relied upon in my book. At a conference, he responded with sarcasm to such liberal nonsense:

"I am going to tell the truth. We Africans really enjoy living in shantytowns where there isn't enough food, health care, or education for our children. Furthermore, our corrupt chieftaincy political systems are really marvelous.... It would be boring if free, democratic elections were organized all over Africa. Were that to happen, we would no longer be real Africans, and by losing our identity--and our authoritarianism, our bloody civil wars, our illiteracy, our forty-five year life expectancy--we should be letting down not only ourselves but those Western anthropologists who study us so sympathetically and understand that we can't be expected to behave like human beings who seek dignity.... So let us fight with the full support of those Western scholars who have the wisdom and courage to acknowledge that Africans belong to different world.”
But presents evidence here that that's much too kind...
""In hindsight, the things I wrote were over the line of nastiness." Actually, in hindsight, you wrote a bunch of things that could reasonably be interpreted as physically threatening his child. That's not just "nasty"; that's against the law. The fact you can't figure this out, even with the benefit of hindsight, says a great deal about you. The fact you now wrap yourself in a cocoon of pretended victimhood says a great deal more. [ And people wonder why nobody decent runs for political office anymore when you have to deal with slimy -- in this case female! -- vermin like this just being a (damn good BTW in Jeff's case) blogger! -ed. ] "
"This is magical thinking, mixed with an unhealthy dose of narcissism. World history is full of examples in which unjust societies have triumphed militarily over more just ones. And we did quite well during wars in which we interned thousands of individuals due solely to their national origin, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and so on."
"What happens matters":
"This, we can't continue to tolerate, for while we get deeper and deeper into this Mexican Stand-off we're fighting an enemy that just doesn't have the same problem. They don't have the problem of paralysis because they're absolutists. Their minds are made up, and their debate, if it ever happened, is finished."

Friday, July 07, 2006

And now Hugh is a "doddering shill" according to Steve Lopez? Oh, what a surprise...
"He’s talking about using a newspaper read by almost a million people to “push back” against . . . bloggers.

Let’s place to one side the rather ominous nature of that statement, and just examine it for its psychology.

Why does the instinctive reaction have to be to “push back”? I understand that, if you think criticism is unfair, you’d like to defend yourself. That makes sense. I get that.

But, speaking for myself, I don’t think my criticism is ever unfair. You might agree sometimes, and disagree others. (More than one L.A. Times staffer has secretly told me that they sometimes agree with me! Their names will be withheld to protect the guilty.) But agree or disagree, my complaints are always documented. And I have obtained more corrections than I can count — and have deserved far, far more.

Rather than rushing to “push back” against critics, why not stop for a second and reflect on whether the criticisms have merit?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Welcome to the demonic convergence:
"The final element of the Demonic Convergence, the coup de grace for Western Civilization, is provided by our own news media. Absolutely determined to end the administration of a particular American president and a particular political party, there is no limit to what they will do, no tactic to which they will not stoop, no secret they will not divulge, and no principle they will not betray in order to accomplish their purpose. The Saudis are better funded, but the Mainstream Media are more powerful, and together they provide a synergy that is capable of destroying us all.

These are the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle called “The 21st Century”, scattered on the table and the floor around you. How might they appear when they’re finally assembled?
""We thought that once the reporters and editors understood that one, these were not warrantless searches, and two, that this was a successful program that had netted real bad guys, and three, that it was a program that was helping us with current, ongoing cases, they would agree to hold off or just not do a story," says the U.S. Treasury official. "But it became clear that nothing we said was going sway them. Whomever they were talking to, whoever was leaking the stuff, had them sold on this story.""
Strike 1. And probably already out:
"Third, let's assume the terrorists read not just paragraph 31, but the entire U.N. report. If they did so, they would find no indication that SWIFT's headquarters contained the mother lode of international financial data, to which the U.S. had already gained access. On the contrary, paragraph 90 of the report says that "it has become more difficult to trace and identify [al Qaeda's] assets." If the terrorists actually read the report, which is highly unlikely, they would have gained false comfort from it.

Fourth, we know for sure that U.N. report of December 2002 didn't blow the secrecy of the SWIFT program, because that program achieved its most notable success eight months later with the capture of Hambali. Further, we know that even as of last month the program's cover hadn't been blown, because it was described as instrumental in several investigations that were ongoing when the Times printed the illegally leaked information about the program. So as of last month, the terrorists hadn't yet changed whatever behavior allowed them to be tracked by SWIFT. Now that they know how we've been tracking them, they can investigate the SWIFT system, reverse-engineer the transactions that led to the capture of Hambali and other terrorists, and, in all likelihood, negate the benefits of this highly successful program.

Liberals' reliance on the 2002 U.N. report is typical of how they so often argue: seize on a word here and a phrase there, make wild assumptions, ignore the obvious, and assert the incredible in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
They're in Syria now. And possibly Gaza too:
"This seems pretty definitive. The subject is how to evade the search for "non-conventional weapons and other chemical agents." The evasion includes moving Iraqi Intelligence documents, and substituting Department of Health employees for intelligence agents. Further, the Intelligence Service's "chemical materials and equipment" were relocated. This doesn't sound like they were just moving old munitions left over from the 1980s from place to place.

As much as one document can prove anything, this seems to demonstrate that Iraq was secretly producing and hiding chemical weapons as of September 1999.
Proof that everything's relative dept.:
"There, the foreigners also discovered that they were rather more honest and trustworthy than their hosts. Saddam's "republic of fear" had, over the years turned into a nation of thieves and liars. The more extreme police states tend to do that. So the foreign terrorists were increasingly entrusted with the money being moved into the country to finance terror attacks."
"Sounds like a connection to me."
"It's odd that Yale would have trotted out the diversity argument, considering the regime that Hashemi represented. Let's recall that the Taliban beat women for not covering themselves from head to toe and men for shaving their faces. Ancient Buddhist carvings, considered artistic and historical treasures, exist no more thanks to Taliban tolerance. The Taliban also reintroduced the lovely Islamic tradition of tolerance by crushing homosexuals to death or throwing them off of towers.

The latter point seems especially germane when it comes to Yale. After all, they have taken the position that the American military cannot stage ROTC classes at the campus due to their "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals in the military (which I also oppose, for several reasons). Yale's students and faculty argued that the university would benefit from having Hashemi's diverse viewpoint represented on campus, but they kicked out the military for a much milder viewpoint and action than that of Hashemi and his colleagues.And while they argue that Hashemi would have benefited the Yale community by his inclusion, no one appears to wonder whether Yale students might benefit from having the ROTC on campus and the diversity of political opinion it might create.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Real treason is what the 17 recently-arrested Islamists are alleged to have attempted in Canada; or what the New York Times and its media camp followers did in the States, by publishing national secrets to expose how their government intercepts terrorist financing. These are the things that need full and enthusiastic prosecution under law, for lives and security are at stake.

It is by prosecuting real treason, effectively, that we can begin to restore the order by which the juvenile antics of those who play-act treason can be seen for what they are: despicable to be sure; but finally, beneath contempt.
"Lesson No. 1: Never trust the Times' headlines.

Lesson No. 2: Never trust what's printed under the Times' headlines.

Lesson No. 3: Never trust what comes out of the mouths of the Times' editors and reporters.

Avoid the newspaper of wreckage, and help keep American safe.
That would be too kind:
"Which, while that certainly takes balls like casaba melons, is nevertheless still self-serving and repugnant rubbish that anyone with a bit of sense would dismiss as such."
"The instruction of turning the other cheek has long been prone to misinterpretation. Nothing in Christianity requires its adherents to blithely sentence themselves or their brethren to abuse or death, nor did Christ teach that in his instruction. Jesus taught us patience, and not to blindly return every provocation with violence. He taught peace as the first resort, but even Jesus did not use that as an exclusive strategy. The Bible shows Jesus violently ejecting the moneychangers from the temple, for instance, hardly a turn-the-other-cheek moment. He also told his apostles, "Let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one" (Luke 22:36). The Old Testament, of course, has a number of passages where God directs His people to commit total war on other populations."
It doesn't get much more assinine than this. Yes. Lichtblau is a rocket scientist. And I know nothing. Just like Sargeant Schultz. Or could it be the other way around?
"Fourth, Lichtblau's current reporting is deeply dishonest. His statements to the effect that everyone knew about the SWIFT program are obviously false; neither he, his "experts" nor the GAO apparently were aware of it. Further, if Lichtblau were a reporter with integrity, his most recent story would have begun with an acknowledgement of his own prior, inaccurate reporting. An appropriate headline might have been: "We had it wrong: Bush administration doing great job in tracking terrorist financing." Don't hold your breath."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The KKK seems to favor black over white these days. Click through for the latest fashions...
"RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Since Palestinian militants [terrorists] captured [kidnapped] an Israeli soldier 10 days ago, Mahmoud Murib has prayed the Jewish state will meet the captors’ [kidnappers’] demands to free prisoners, including his 15-year-old son."
Did I mention Britain is well on its way to Eurabia?
"“What Koran was that?” he countered. “Don’t fool yourself by saying jihad is a struggle within, to get on with life, to motivate myself to get up for prayers and that sort of thing,” he said. “That’s not jihad. Who told you that?”"
"Alternately, the US could have activated anti-missile defense systems and taken all three of them down immediately after their launch. So far, the news reports do not address that possibility. We moved a lot of those assets to the theater when Kim staged the rocket. Could we have had three successful tests of that system? If so, we may have neutered the threat from both North Korea and Iran. That's wishful thinking, and unless the administration starts talking about that soon, we can probably discount that possibility. [ I rather doubt that we did shoot them down, though it's not outside the range of possibility. I did catch an amusing debate between a Republican and Democrat congressman today where the Demo blathered on about how we're bogged down in Iraq but the Repub pointed out that if the Demos had their way we would have NO anti missile system at all! So what exactly would we be "focusing" on the NorKorComs and Iranians WITH? No surprise, the Demo insisted that we would be making alliances to work against them. Which is nigh on lunacy -- we have created alliances until the cows come home in BOTH of these cases... -ed. ]

Whatever happened, one fact is certain: Kim has been caught with his pants down.
"Cap and I wanted to demonstrate just how upside down the MSM’s values have become. So we unearthed and researched the stories of 19 of our most highly decorated soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines fighting the Global War on Terror. What we quickly realized was that there’s a reason the liberal media doen’t want to interview these guys and gals and report and inform us about their stories, and that’s because these warriors understand and support the mission; they get it. They don’t believe in moral equivalency like liberals want them to. And so when you read a book like ours that’s chock full of quotes straight from the mouths of the guns in the fight that stand firmly by their Commander in Chief, the mission, and the use of military power to shape the contours of history, you start to see why liberal media have no interest in these stories of hope and heroism and why they relegate them to footnotes, if that."
"July 3, 2006: While the suicide bomb attacks against Shia Arabs get lots of attention, hardly any notice is paid to the increasing number of smaller attacks against the Sunni Arab community. As a result, there is growing panic among Sunni Arabs. This has reached the point where even Osama bin Laden, in one of his latest taped messages, calls for the Islamic world to come to the rescue of Iraqi Sunni Arabs. [ Good luck with that one Osama -ed. ] "
And what would Eric Blair say?
"Long-time Times readers must be so relieved, if a bit puzzled. If the information wasn't secret, what on earth was poor Mr. Keller so agonized about?

And the reaction of Congress does seem to be a bit of a head-scratcher. If this was common knowledge, whence all the screeching? Was the government being secretive or not? If it wasn't, why maliciously draw unneeded attention to a program that was catching terrorists and those who fund them?

And finally, if this information was in the public domain why didn't the Times source its story from publicly available sources, and thus make itself immune to criticism?

Undoubtedly in the interest of openness and transparency, Mr. Keller will be forthcoming with the answers in no time. After all, the public has a right to know.
I think Orwell would say: "The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security." Or possibly much worse.
"Terrorism is extortion in the service of politics. Attacks on civilian targets are whole-page advertisements taken out to flog these wares on a reluctant public. The military power of terrorists is negligable. Despite the fantasies of those who imagine Iraq to be Vietnam, with divisions of NVA sending tanks down the road to Saigon; with legions of laborers dragging artillery pieces across the mountains to pound surrounded French garrisons into submission -- it is not that. Rather, it is a development of the techniques pioneered in the Algerian conflict against the French. It is the political and media power of terror which is important, not their military strength. And in a takeoff from Omar's riff on Maliki's email anecdote, I would venture to say that terror would have won against the US and the West already despite the vast power of America were it not for the Internet, which has ironically made it possible for neutralize the propaganda power of terror. The Internet makes it possible to show terror up for the murder that it is. To strip it of supposed justification. To remind people of what is never mentioned in the papers: that Osama like all men goes and takes a shit."

Monday, July 03, 2006

"Eyes glazed with disbelief, Bill Bratton, the world's most famous cop, ended a visit to London last week with: "Shame on you, the public of this country.""
"If America is going to wage a war against terrorism, it must indeed act on all fronts. In 2006, it needs to act on the home front and direct its attention to those whose war on the administration is unconstrained by the espionage laws of the United States."
"Well, yes, come to think of it, there is some symbolism at work here.

Nancy Pelosi = "Over-her-head, out-of-touch-millionaire, with rhetorical skills that make George Bush look like Cicero."

New York Times = "Unelected, arrogant, defeatist, liberal establishment, family-controlled newspaper, the publisher of which is at the helm because of his mother and father."

'Progressive' = "Backward-looking, stuck-for-an-answer-when-greeted, insolent depressive."

I hope that helps clear things up...
"Lichtbau needs to explain how he knows his sources are not partisans aligned against Bush and not aiming for higher level positions in a Democrat 2008 administration. If there are 20 sources (and none of these are among the people who begged and pleaded with the NY Times to not cripple our national defenses) than there is still a cabal inside the beltway trying to initiate a political outcome in the coming elections. Anyone who risks programs and doesn’t focus on protecting this country (theoretically these sources’ jobs) to run to the press for partisan gain should go to jail for life."
"On any given day a coyote is a pesky but minor threat to the other inhabitants of his world. An opportunist by nature, he picks off the scraps and is quick to skulk away from any vigilant creature. Coyote packs can wreak havoc for the unguarded but once alerted even the pack is no match. But even those who manage to admire the wily scavenger will recognize that once it goes rabid, it must be put down. No living creature is safe while a rabid predator roams.

No. Our people who have truly stared into the face of this terrorist demon have seen the ruby glow in its eyes. This is not a myth. This is not a politically contrived caricature, this demon is real. It usually stalks the easy prey — children, women in crowds, families focused on prayer, rescue workers responding to people in need. Some terrorists manage to get our soldiers.
"In a move experts said was expected for months, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller today announced the formation of a shadow government for the US, effective immediately."

SWIFTgate Prelude: Goldstein And Kibitzing

For all dozen or so of the "don't realize they're Scoop Jackson / JFK Dems" that went to the bathroom when their party has left them for the other side, this comment on Protein Wisdom cuts to the heart of why they may be confused about what's going on:
"A common mistake among people is that they think bad guys are smart.

They aren’t for the most part. they don’t think very far ahead, they don’t know much outside of their narrow worlds, and they don’t have a helluva lot of interest in fixing that sort of knowledge gap.

“The terrorists know we’re monitoring banks.”

Well, no, they don’t. They might know, in general, that we do that sort of thing, but there’s a big tendency among assholes like that to assume that their particular choice of action is completely invulnerable to any sort of obvious counter-action.

The Times and the others are like someone standing behind a chess player and kibitzing.

“Oh, you’re going after his rook, then, so you can take out his queen. What are you getting mad for, it’s obvious to everyone.”
It is true that our enemies have an enormous reservoir of stupidity to draw from. No question about that at all. I really don't think you can be a brutal thug without an Achilles heel of stupidity. But we all know that Richard Reid -- blockhead thug though he was -- just about downed a plane shortly after 9/11, don't we? Accidents like this could possibly even happen if we were not so weakened by lunatic political correctness as we are. But we are. And you probably don't see that either. Time to start paying attention. Please. I'm asking nicely. No kibitzing.

And RTWT. You absolutely need to read the Katherine Graham quote. If that doesn't appeal to your sense of perspective then you're likely not part of the dozen...
Looks like CQ's answer to the NYeT going to be an exercise in table turning on WMD:
"One key point (besides the memo) that undermines the argument for a civil hydrogen production facility is the ease in which the Iraqis could already produce and store hydrogen. Oil refining creates hydrogen in fairly large quantities as a normal byproduct. If the Iraqis wanted hydrogen for weather balloons, they could have simply pumped it into tanks and used normal trucks to transport it where needed. Now we have another argument against the hydrogen production explanation.

A CQ reader with a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota and with over sixteen years of experience in weapons and materiel laboratory work in the military has written a paper on why the hydrogen lab explanation cannot possibly explain the existence and the engineering of these mobile laboratories. Preferring anonymity for professional reasons, "ChemicalConsultant" has allowed me access to a condensed version of an analysis that he has sent to Joby Warrick at the Washington Post, Reps. Curt Weldon and Jane Harman, and former CIA director John Deutsch, now at MIT -- none of whom have responded to ChemicalConsultant or addressed these concerns.
And somehow I forgot Glenn's roundup and pointing out of the banner headline. Silly me.
"Two billion war deaths would have occurred in the 20th century if modern societies suffered the same casualty rate as primitive peoples, according to anthropologist Lawrence H Keeley, who calculates that two-thirds of them were at war continuously, typically losing half of a percent of its population to war each year."
Spengler rocks on American Leftist shibboleths and the precipice they stand on:
"A quarter of the language groups in New Guinea, home to 1,200 of the world's 6,000 languages, were exterminated by warfare during every preceding century, according to one estimate Wade cites. In primitive warfare "casualty rates were enormous, not the least because they did not take prisoners. That policy was compatible with their usual strategic goal: to exterminate the opponent's society. Captured warriors were killed on the spot, except in the case of the Iroquois, who took captives home to torture them before death, and certain tribes in Colombia, who liked to fatten prisoners before eating them."

However badly civilized peoples may have behaved, the 100 million or so killed by communism and the 50 million or so killed by National Socialism seem modest compared with the 2 billion or so who would have died if the casualty rates of primitive peoples had applied to the West. The verdict is not yet in, to be sure. One is reminded of the exchange between Wednesday Addams (played by the young Christina Ricci in the 1993 film Addams Family Values) and a girl at summer camp, who asks, "Why are you dressed like someone died?" to which Wednesday replies, "Wait!"

Guiding the warlike inclinations of primitive peoples is genetic kinship, and the micro-cultures (such as dialect) that attend it. Christianity called out individuals from the nations, and gave them a new birth through baptism in a new people, whose earthly pilgrimage led to the Kingdom of God. Christians began with contempt for the flesh of their own origins; post-Christians envy the "authenticity" of the peoples who never were called out from the nations, for they have left the pilgrimage in mid-passage and do not know where they are or where they should go.

It is difficult to be a Christian, for the faith that points to the Kingdom of God conflicts with the Gentile flesh whence Christians come; but it is oppressive, indeed intolerable to be an ex-Christian, for it is all the harder to trace one's way back. Europeans have less difficulty, for the Italians never quite gave up their pagan gods whom the Church admitted as saints, and the Germans never quite gave up their heathen religion, which lived on as a substratum of myth and magic beneath the veneer of Christianity.

If the United States of America is the Christian nation par excellence - as I have argued on numerous occasions - then the predicament of an American ex-Christian is especially miserable. Americans do not have close at hand the Saints Days of Italian villages incorporating heathen practice predating Rome, or the Elf-ridden forest of the German north celebrated in Romantic poetry. They have suburban housing developments and strip malls, urban forests of steel and glass, Hollywood and Graceland, but nothing "authentic".

Septenthians -- If We Were Only So Lucky

"John Harwood made the observation that news and editorial staffs were not always of the same mind, and that his own institution (the Wall Street Journal) was split over the issue. Most of the news department was in agreement with the New York Times, while the Wall Street Journal's editorial staff tended to think exposing the SWIFT program was rather irresponsible. Harwood used this as evidence that mainstream media isn't monolithic, but he missed the larger point that the WSJ's editorial attitude, probably stemming from a Socrates-like recognition that the epitome of wisdom is to know the devastating extent of your own ignorance, was simply incapable of staying the Times's destructive thrust.

Dana Priest's rather preposterous line of defense was that the Times "slant" on such questions emerges from its principled opposition to the President's Iraq policy "on a strategic level". I assume that what she meant is that they don't see the need for our intervention in the Middle East. But that's not so much a strategic opposition as a failure to perceive or comprehend strategy in the first place. If they had demonstrated any comprehension of Iraqi Freedom, rather than simply choosing to see it as a "mess" from their vantage behind the Green Zone boundary, she might have had a case. But the "strategy" they favor can be summed up with the simple term: "9-10". [ I prefer "Septenthian. But unfortunately, that's too kind a term for traitors -- witless or not. -ed. ]

There's also an institutional aspect to the problem that many commentators fixated on bias haven't mentioned. Our mainstream press establishment is so captivated with the compulsions of the "gotcha game", the winner of which tends to be awarded the Pullitzer, that they wouldn't recognize a strategy if it bit them "somewhere beyond the sun's jurisdiction". The whole expose' of the SWIFT intelligence operation was about "gotcha", rather than about some fundamental-and-deeply-contemplated disagreement over strategy. No one on the Times's editorial board or its news staff has the slightest inkling of how the SWIFT operation fit into any strategy, because they're essentially "strategy blind".

Of course, Chris Muir is not to be outdone by Power Line...
File under "I'm shocked, just shocked!":
"Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had the phone numbers of senior Iraqi officials stored in his cell phone, according to an Iraqi legislator.

Waiel Abdul-Latif, a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party, said Monday that authorities found the numbers after al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a U.S. air strike on June 7.

Abdul-Latif did not give names of the officials. But he said they included ministry employees and members of parliament.

He called for an investigation, saying Iraqis "cannot have one hand with the government and another with the terrorists."
"The concept of a well-educated, well-spoken infantry lieutenant who would rather fight for his country than be a Washington lawyer is apparently too much for some liberals to bear. Two quick observations about this phenomenon.

First, the long-diagnosed Bush Derangement Syndrome has metastasized in some patients into a generalized Derangement Syndrome. Second, the same people who deny the reality of Lt. Tom Cotton will swallow hook, line and sinker every statement attributed by the New York Times or Washington Post to an unknown, unnamed, anonymous leaker with God knows what qualifications or axe to grind, who--assuming he exists--is violating his oath and, in some instances, committing a crime by leaking. An interesting contrast.

The End Of Deterrence

File under: And you thought the conservative base was pissed with W about immigration? Just wait till this comes into their gunsights:
"I have to tell you I am gravely alarmed by the fact that no other analyst has yet made this point as emphatically as I am making it: The only acceptable American response to North Korea's threat is to tell the world once again that any missile launch on U.S. territory will mean an all-out nuclear attack.

We can't wait to find out if the missile carries a nuclear payload. We cannot afford to lose one American city. We cannot afford to see if North Korea's "test" is actually a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack designed to cripple the country's electronic infrastructure. We can only rely on what has worked in the past – deterrence.

Overnight, and without any public debate, America's defense strategy has dramatically shifted. By not being clear with North Korea, by not stating unequivocally that a missile launch of any kind toward our country means total devastation for the enemy responsible, President Bush has left America vulnerable to all our enemies.
The only good news is that the loss of LALA Land may seem minor compared with the looming war with Iran ... or may be found to be integral with it. Let's see. All out war between Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel looms. Check. Iran about to tell the G8 to stuff it. Check. NorKorCom possible nuke launch. Check. And of course the Axis powers never coordinated anything either...
Did I mention yet how contemptible they are?
"Their own article points out how many in our own government, including the C.I.A. did not know all the details, that many of the facts that they printed no one, especially the terrorists, knew about. If everyone knew about it, why was it a front page scoop? If everything was public knowledge, their lame defense tactic, why was there any delay in publishing? Their own article damns the logic of their defense."
And go read what Kean said again while you're fuming.
You still haven't read Michael's interview with the KIU, have you?
"“The West is not an enemy," he said. "We think about Western Civilization as part of the whole human experience. We would like to help you reform it, but we do not want to destroy it. We are not violent. We support civil mechanisms for change.”

"What do you think about Sayyid Qutb and the Hideous Schizophrenia?" I said. [ My little ditty on Qtub here. -ed. ] Sayyid Qutb is considered the founder of modern Islamism and the intellect behind Al Qaeda theology. He believed - until he was executed by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the dungeons of Egypt - that the liberal post-Christian West threatens Islamic civilization because it promotes, among other things, the separation of religion and the state. Qutb believed this separation triggered an epidemic psychological breakdown in the West that he dubbed the Hideous Schizophrenia, and that this breakdown is spreading to the Middle East.

"Qutb was wrong," he said, parting ways with Osama bin Laden on the most elementary level. “Compare Islam and Christianity. In the Middle Ages, Christians were burning scientists. Then Muslims had a great civilization. The Christians were theocratic then. Muslims were not. We do not believe in a theocratic government that rules the people in the name of Allah. Power should come from the people. Christianity wasn’t weakened because it was separate from the state. Christianity was weakened when it supported oppressive states. The same thing is happening in Iran. [ Lewis talks about this! See p.109 of "What Went Wrong?"! -ed. ] Iranians are turning against the religion itself along with the theocratic oppressive state."

“Are you opposed to theocracy then?” I said. “If you win power in Kurdistan will you not govern according to Islamic law?”

“In Islam we have stable things and changeable things,” he said. “80 percent of Islam is changeable things.” Say what you will about Islamists. Ali Muhammad’s religious-political ideology is a long way from the iron rule of 7th Century Taliban.

“Should alcohol be legal or banned?” I said. When I asked this question of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Essem El-Erian he refused to give me a straight answer.

“In Islam it is prohibited to drink alcohol in public,” Ali Muhammad said. “Drinking at home is fine. If someone wants to buy alcohol and drink it in his house, we should not chase him. We prefer to treat alcohol the same way we treat cigarettes when we create non-smoking sections.”

“Should women be required to wear the hijab over their hair?” I said, referring to the modest Islamic headscarf worn by conservative women in public.

“We don’t force people to wear the hijab,” he said. “There are two types of Islamic rules: personal and general. Individual matters are advised, not required. Advisements by Islam should not be imposed. Islam prohibits only things that harm an entire society.”

Ali Muhammad believes this is the right balance, that Islam is therefore superior to Judaism and Christianity.

“The Koran includes both regulation and advice,” he said. “The Torah included only regulation. The New Testament included only advice.” [ Arguable of course but a credible take on the Law and the Gospels... -ed. ]
My take is that "moderate Islamism" like this is only possible someplace like Kurdistan. They have striven for 51st statehood for so long that they have actually escaped the grip of the thugs. Amazing...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"BELFAST, Ireland, July 2 (UPI) -- An asteroid with the power to wipe out a small country will miss the Earth tomorrow, the Sunday Telegraph reported. [ Ho hum. Why would we want to invest more money in a space program anyway? What good could it possibly do us? Other than try to avert the fate of the dinosaurs anyway... -ed. ]

Asteroid 2004 XP14 is nearly half a mile wide and was discovered in December 2004. It is in the "Apollo" class of asteroids, which are those that cross orbits with Earth.

Initial speculation by scientists predicted the possibility of impact with Earth later this century, but that conclusion has been ruled out, the newspaper said.

When the asteroid passes Earth, it will be some 268,624 miles away, just slightly further away than the average distance of the Moon from Earth, the report said. A telescope will be required to view the asteroid, which will pass at 5:25 a.m. UK time.
Did I mention that the Islamofascists really do hate us because of the Conservatives? And clearly, Colorado church ladies are the worst of the worst. But where does that leave the head hackers thoughts on liberals?
I wish Beinart well. But he's toast:
"It's certainly possible that mainstream Democrats are more in line with Beinart's views than I give them credit for. But Drum's statement doesn't pass the straight-face test. As Beinart told David Horowitz, he's calling for liberals not to let their national security views be defined like groups like MoveOn and people like Michael Moore. In fact, Beinart's original article on the subject called for a purge of these left-wing elements from the Democratic party. And Beinart cites a Pew poll that in 2004 asked conservatives and liberals to indicate their top foreign policy priority. For conservatives, destroying al-Qaeda was number one. For liberals it was tenth. [ Now there's a huge surprise. ] (To be sure, Beinart contrives to blame President Bush for the Democrats' lack of urgency when it comes to destroying al-Qaeda). [ And as usual, all W's fault that they can't prioritize their way out of a brown paper bag. ] Thus, Drum's twin claims that no gap exists between Beinart and the Kos crowd, and that essentially all liberals are hawks, cannot be taken seriously except perhaps as evidence of how profoundly some liberals (but fortunately not Beinart and hopefully not Schraub) misconstrue what it means to be "hawkish.""
"A man or woman of genuine courage would stand up and be identified if what they were leaking were truly in the national interest, no matter what the consequences to them. They would be heroes. Not here. These people are snitches, maneuvering behind the scenes for their own personal or political advantage. Our media manipulate these folks who in turn manipulate our media. It is as far from heroic as one could imagine. These are the very people you wouldn't want with you in a foxhole. In fact, you wouldn't even want to turn your back on them at a cocktail party."

And then there were the devastating comments:
"As much as the press wants to tilt the spin towards the chilling effect, the campaign against the free press they can't hide from the fact that they exposed a working program, in specific detail, that was, according to them, harming no one and had worked to catch terrorists. Thats the reason for the outrage, not some brilliant Rovian PR campaign. Their own article points out how many in our own government, including the C.I.A. did not know all the details, that many of the facts that they printed no one, especially the terrorists, knew about. If everyone knew about it, why was it a front page scoop? If everything was public knowledge, their lame defense tactic, why was there any delay in publishing? Their own article damns the logic of their defense.There was general knowledge of the fact that there was financial tracking but the NYT, LAT gave specific details, specific institutions. If everyone knew why has there been rumblings from Canada and Belgium that since the publication by the NYT that they are considering dropping from the program? Why? Because the press exposed them and now they have to worry about becoming targets. The program worked, it caught terrorists and saved lives, and the press exposed the program and it can never work again. It can't save the lives that it no doubt did before the press wrecked it. And for what. The press itself admits that no harm had been done. They only offer vague worries and doubts. Human life has been traded for vague worries. The Press, someday, will have blood on their hands. I hope their Pulitzer's keep them warm during the funerals."
"Once again the UN draws false moral equivalences to allow the Palestinians to escape the consequences of their own decisions and actions, and they do so with very dishonest rhetorical tricks. Calling the offices of the party that commits terrorist acts on a regular basis "civilian buildings" allows the UN to draw an equivalency between targeting them and Hamas' threat to target schoolchildren and sick civilians in hospitals -- an equivalency that only exists in the minds of the morally warped or terminally obtuse. In this case, considering the UN's recent history, this envoy likely qualifies on both grounds."
"As the Nebraska Guitar Militia put it: Farmin' the Government beats actual, you know, farming: "Reap what you don't sow.""
"On April 27, 1961, President John Kennedy delivered a speech before the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. He addressed the issue of the press's role in preserving national security in the Cold War. President Kennedy lamented the fact that secret information about America's covert operations had routinely appeared in American newspapers, to be read by friend and foe alike. He noted that the Communists had openly boasted of gaining information from American newspapers that they would otherwise have had to use spies to attempt to steal. And he called on newspapers not to publish stories based on the single test, Is it news? but rather to add a second test: How does it affect national security?

The speech can be both read and listened to in its entirety here. The speech is around 19 minutes long. Click on the audio player below to hear the brief excerpts that are most relevant to the present controversy.
Here's the best evisceration of the NYeT yet:
"Not to worry, you tell us, terrorists already know we track their funding, and disclosure won't undercut the program. (Contradictory claims, but what the heck.) You at the Times know better. You know better than government officials who said disclosing the program's methods and means would jeopardize a successful enterprise. You know better than the 9/11 Commission chairmen who urged you not to run the story. Better than Republican and Democratic lawmakers who were briefed on the program. Better than the Supreme Court, which has held since 1976 that bank records are not constitutionally protected. Better than Congress, which established the administrative subpoenas used in this program.

Maybe you do. But whether you do or not, there's no accountability. If you're wrong and we fail to stop a terror plot and people die because of your story, who's going to know, much less hold you accountable? No, the government will be blamed -- oh, happy day, maybe Bush's White House! -- for not connecting dots or crippling terror networks. The Times might even run the kind of editorial it ran on Sept. 24, 2001. Remember? The one that said "much more is needed" to track terror loot, including "greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities"?

Keep up the good work -- for al-Qaida.
Bill Keller and his staff, rocket scientists with ADD. No wait -- I apologize to people with ADD for lumping them in with Bill Keller.
Here's what the NYeT printed today below a picture of the driveway in to Rumsfeld's house in Maryland:
"There is a lens in the birdhouse at the driveway of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's home at St. Michaels, Md."
Now I know why the NYeT "blew the whistle" on the SWIFT program. The government was getting too close to finding out about the payments they've been receiving from Al Qaeda. I don't call them the "EneMedia" for nothing.
"Given the nature of Prime Minister Olmert's coalition, and the pressure on Olmert from the EU and even the U.S. State Department to accommodate Palestinians, Hamas may well find that its interests are best served by maintaining its image as a force that won't knuckle under to Israeli pressure of the sort Olmert is able to bring to bear. And even if Israel's actions succeed in bringing about Shalit's release, the long term prospects for its redeployment policy are not bright."
"Finally, Beinart and the left misread, intentionally. I believe, the way the right looks at America. The right does not say we are perfect and because we are perfect we have the moral authority to lead. The right recognizes and attempts to improve upon our failures ( N.B. a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for Civil Rights in the Senate in the 1960's). What the right does say is that, while we may be imperfect we are better than any other system in history and have done more for more people than any other entity in history. We do not dictate to people, but we have the self confidence (something sorely lacking in the left) to believe in the righteousness of who we are and what we do. We are not paralyzed by our imperfections. We recognize them, strive to fix them and understand that in spite of our imperfections, we are comfortable in seeing and acting upon the difference between good and evil. We do not need world approval. The left needs consensus because it is unwilling to distinguish between good and evil. The left needs 'causes' because they can form great coalitions to address (not solve) these problems. Solving problems requires one to take a position. The right will take a position; the left will not. Causes are far more useful than solutions, and they last far longer! "